Borussia Mönchengladbach ended their best Hinrunde in 35 years with a 1-0 win over 1. FSV Mainz. A number of key factors have changed in the space of only 31 days.
The Foals’ turnaround from last season’s Hinrunde, managing to stay in the league after only having gathered 10 points during the first 17 games of the 10/11 season was amongst the biggest surprises last season. Lucien Favre’s men kept up their impressive form in the new season as well, already starting on Match Day 1 when they surprisingly defeated Bayern Munich in the Allianz Arena 1-0 and managed to gather a total of 34 points, thereby ending the Hinrunde in the 4th spot that would qualify them for the Champions League next season.
President Rainer Bonhof stated in Bild that ”Favre has been of tremendous help”, saying that he wants to extend Favre’s contract as quickly as possible. Favre’s deal expires in 2013, so there is a no haste from Swiss’s side to sign anything prematurely.
A few vital things have changed since during the winter break. Borussia Mönchengladbach have sold Marco Reus to Borussia Dortmund for 17.5 million euros, and Roman Neustädter will leave the team on a free transfer to play for rivals Schalke 04 next season. Other players might leave the team as well. Defender Dante has a clause that would allow him to leave the club for 5 million euros in the summer, and Norwegian midfielder Håvard Nordtveit is currently being linked to Liverpool by German and English media outlets.
Favre remembers all too well that key players leaving the team over the summer can have an unfortunate effect on the team. During his tenure at Hertha he managed to achieve a sensational fourth place finish with The Old Lady in the 08/09 season. Afterwards three key players, Josip Simunic, Marko Pantelic and Andrej Voronin left the club. Hertha’s demise the following season saw Favre fired after a horrendous Hinrunde, with the team getting relegated following their season ending last-place finish. Given the 54 year old’s past, his statement concerning Reus’s and Neustädter leaving the club isn’t surprising:
”Things won’t get easier, that is for sure. Now it is important that wise decisions are made.”
Favre isn’t enthused with the prospect of four of his regular starters not being on next season’s roster, and has now demanded three top European class signings by Gladbach, according to Cologne based paper Express. Xherden Shaqiri has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Marco Reus, but Favre told Express:
”He’s a very good player, but he hasn’t any contact to Gladbach.”
If Shaqiri will end up playing for The Foals stands to be seen, however, sporting director Max Eberl seems to be willing to take steps to make Favre stay at the club. He told sport1.de:
”Hertha didn’t put anything into their team back then. We are going to re-invest the money from the Reus transfer into ours, in order to take the next step.”
However, it remains to be seen if Favre is persuaded to stay by Borussia re-spending the money they’ve made in the Reus transfer in a wise fashion.
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